Sloppy Play Costs CSUN in Volleyball Loss to UCSB

TIMES STAFF WRITER

UC Santa Barbara middle blocker Julie Pitois expected to go five games with Cal State Northridge on Tuesday night. But the Matadors weren't up to the task.

A combination of poor serve-receiving and attacking on the Northridge side led to a 15-10, 15-8, 7-15, 15-5 Santa Barbara win. The Gauchos, ranked No. 7 by Volleyball Monthly magazine, improved to 8-1 and the home team fell to 7-4.

Northridge made a season-high 35 attack errors.

"We took their outside hitters out of the game with a good block," UCSB Coach Kathy Gregory said. "They have a very good setter and one of the best middle attacks I've seen. Their middle is so good that we decided to leave only one blocker on the outside."

The ploy worked on the outside, but CSUN setter Beth Welch and middle hitters Kathleen Dixon and Marianne Dixon dazzled the Gauchos with quick hits, off-balance dinks and tomahawk spikes. Welch had 47 assists and Kathleen Dixon put away a season-high 18 kills. Sister Marianne had nine kills.

"You need a setter, that's the driving force and they have that," Gregory said. "They're not ranked, but they can play with any Top 20 team."

The Matadors fell behind, 7-2, in the first game, but after a timeout and an exchange of points, they pulled within 11-10. Following a CSUN error, Tina Van Loon took over the serve for UCSB and the Gauchos scored three straight points on kills by Maria Reyes and Kristie Ryan and a CSUN hitting error. After four consecutive sideouts, UCSB won, 15-10, on a dink by Ryan off the serve.

CSUN kept pace with the Gauchos in the second game--to a point. With the score tied, 7-7, UCSB scored the next seven points en route to a 15-8 triumph.

In the third game, CSUN built a 9-4 lead, reeled off three straight points for a 12-4 advantage and finished with a flurry of three straight points on a UCSB error, an ace by Welch and a kill by Kathleen Dixon for a 15-7 win.

UCSB built an 8-3 lead in the fourth game and after a CSUN timeout, scored six more for a 14-3 advantage. CSUN managed two points, then lost match point.

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